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Showtime Tackles ‘Inside The NFL’

The National Football League’s award-winning highlights show Inside The NFL has landed on Showtime four months after Home Box Office punted it away.

Showtime and CBS Sports Tuesday announced a one-year deal with the NFL to distribute the 31-year old series on the pay service. Showtime will run the weekly series throughout the 2008-09 NFL season beginning Sept. 10 and ending Feb. 11, 2009, network officials said.

The show will be produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steve Bornstein, Executive Vice President of NFL Media said in a statement that Inside The NFL “has set the standard as one of the best shows on television for over 30 years and fans will continue to enjoy the same high-quality production from NFL Films and CBS Sports this season on Showtime.”

Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank added the network is “thrilled to be joining the successful partnership of CBS Sports and the NFL in presenting the show to our subscribers. It’s a perfect fit with our original scripted series and sports programming.”

HBO Sports, which had aired the series since its inception in 1977, abruptly pulled the plug on the series in February after the show’s wrap up coverage of Super Bowl XLII. HBO Sports president Ross Greenberg said at the time that the show had run its course, adding that fans can access NFL highlights on other basic cable networks as well as the Internet.

Greenburg said in a statement that HBO “had 31 terrific years with NFL Films...we wish them well.”